Haverhill Health Board Says Parades for Children May Resume with Rules; Requires Food Workers to Wear Facial Coverings

Board of Health Chairman Peter Carbone, center, speaks remotely. (WHAV News screen capture.)

The Haverhill Board of Health says impromptu motor vehicle parades may continue with a few restrictions. In a meeting yesterday afternoon, members also strengthened an earlier emergency order by requiring food-related workers to always “wear a face covering such as a fabric mask, scarf or bandana, over their mouth and nose when interacting with the public and within six feet of a co-worker “

In a short, remote meeting, members agreed car parades—usually for the benefit of housebound children—may resume provided there are no viewing areas or groups congregating and as long as there is at least six feet of separation between viewers and people wear facial covering if speaking to one another.

Haverhill Fire Chief William F. Laliberty said a week ago parades were suspended “due to concerns over social distancing during the predicted virus surge in our community.” While the chief did not say who ordered such parades to be halted, Haverhill Firefighters Union Local 1011 said it was Mayor James J. Fiorentini. Mayoral spokesman Shawn Regan said Monday there were concerns that advertising such parades in advance resulted in crowds forming.

The health board spent most of its time tidying up rules it laid down April 13 for food service and other essential workers. Members clarified employees of grocery stores, pharmacies, drive through food and coffee establishments, home improvement stores and the like shall wear a face covering. Health and Inspectional Services Director Richard MacDonald explained the rationale for the requirement.

“That’s because of personal experience and what we’re hearing from the inspectors, that especially in food preparation, we hear that in some of the Market Basket grocery stores, they’re not wearing protective coverings on their mouths so this is the genesis of where this is coming,” MacDonald said.

The board stopped short of requiring customers to do the same. Health Board member Romie N. Mundy II said he doesn’t want to prevent those in need of food or supplies to be turned away.

“My only concern with a mandatory mask ordinance is that, perhaps, someone will show up—essential supplies—be unaware of it and not be able to obtain something that they need on an urgent basis,” said Mundy.

Chairman Peter Carbone also clarified the board recommends everyone wear facial coverings, but they need not do so when alone, such as when driving by themselves in a car. Members also agreed that if there are more stringent standards at the state or federal levels, those shall become the local rules.

Besides Carbone and Mundy, member Alexander Matolcsy agreed to the new rules.

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